It has taken me over a week to write about Josie Long’s off Broadway stand-up show, Something Better. It’s not that I didn’t like the show—I did, I liked it a lot, but since T***p (I can’t even say his name) became the President-Elect, it’s been hard to feel good about doing anything (including writing) that isn’t direct political action. This all feels releavant since Something Better is the British comedian’s response to feeling the same kind of defeat I’m speaking of, when her native UK withdrew from the European Union earlier this year. Long didn’t know what her U.S. audience would be going through when she wrote the show and booked this tour. She didn’t know how close to home her material would hit.
Tag Archives: comedy
If you don’t already know, SOLOCOM is NYC’s Only All-New Solo Comedy Festival. The fest takes place November 17-20 and since comedy often gets a reputation for being…less than feminist (ok, that’s an understatement), I felt it my duty to highlight the most subversive shows being performed at the 4th Annual SOLOCOM.
SOLOCOM was founded by the wonderful Peter Michael Marino who to this day remains the only teacher in my many years of schooling–comedy and otherwise to say that misognist, homophobic, and racist writing would not be tolerated in his classes (I remember seeing one male student leave and never come back). I have followed Marino’s work as a performer and the work he supports as a producer and festival programmer ever since.
Marino, over email said that he created SOLOCOM four years ago “to provide artists with a nourishing platform to debut brand new work solo comedy material.” Having worked in the solo show and comedy genre for so many years as a solo writer, performer, producer and director, he thought there was a gap in solo performance that needed to be filled. “Many solo shows can fall into the category of naval-gazing and sentimentality, and I wanted solo artists to have a place to create work that had a comedic bent while having universal themes and mold-breaking concepts of execution.”
Additionally when asked about why it’s important for people to start to dust themselves off from our collective post-election mourning, Marino said: “We need comedy and entertainment now…more than ever.”
How to Not Tell a Rape Joke–Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else!
Asking for It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else! is a performance that’s very much about performance. It’s a one-woman show where the performer runs out into the audience to steal sips of audience member drinks, leaving lipstick trails on our cocktail glasses. The character that Adrienne Truscott portrays is a party girl who just wants to go out and have fun. Along the way, she encounters a bartender who wants to get her blackout drunk so that the men at his bar can have their way with her… again. When told from this character’s perspective, the idea is horrifying. Then you start to realize how nonchalantly this “joke” could be told from a comic’s mouth into a microphone. Truscott’s anonymous character is the female butt of a misogynist joke manifested in the flesh. She’s the embodiment of the woman whose body and misery is someone else’s punch line. Truscott wants the audience to remember that the woman on the receiving end of a rape joke is in fact a real human being who statistically is out in the world being assaulted somewhere right now.
Todd Dakotah Briscoe and Anna Drezen both studied theater in college before becoming involved in comedy at UCB. The two now perform sketch and standup comedy regularly around New York City and beyond. Over two and a half years ago, they launched a hilarious website called, How May We Hate You? which was released as a book this week. I recently had a chance to ask the two writers a few questions about the origin of their book debut, their collaborative writing process, class structures in the United States, why not everyone should be a blogger, and other lighthearted matters.
Cathy de la Cruz: When did the two of you know you had to start your website, How May We Hate You?
Todd Dakotah Briscoe: Anna and I started posting guest interactions on our personal pages a year or two before the Tumblr itself launched. The interactions we had with guests were just too bizarre and hilarious to keep to ourselves. These interactions were far more popular than anything else we posted. We could have launched our own separate blogs, but one random summer day, Anna and I decided to meet for a drink at some terrible bar near Union Square to discuss combining forces. I’m so glad we did, because it’s great having twice the stories and another person to help do all of the work. Continue reading
Started by comedian Marcia Belsky, the new Tumblr The Headless Women of Hollywood draws attention to the all-too-common practice of featuring fragmented, objectified images of women’s bodies in advertising for movies and TV.
From the Tumblr’s “About” page:
“The head is first and foremost the thinking part of the human body, where our motivations and feelings are located. So, these images we are bombarded with on a daily basis tell us persistently that women’s thoughts, feelings and personal agency either don’t exist or are of no interest.
Further, facial features are the way we recognize other people. It’s the face that makes us individuals. That too is taken away, and we are taught that all women, especially ones that match the ideal, are the same and interchangeable.
We are made numb in pop culture to female bodies remaining background to male-centered action. A right for men to focus on or ignore, but always there if and when he so chooses. And always there explicitly, first and foremost, for his intent.”
I wrote/recorded (click here to hear) the following in reaction to recent events. Also, our fabulous Weird Sister Soleil Ho wrote a related post (which you should also check out if you haven’t already)…
[Procedure: Have an actual Asian female poet silently mouth “take my face take my voice take my face take my voice” throughout this entire audio recording]
Are you a cis-white male poet who’s been rejected over and over for the same shitty poem? Do you want this same shitty poem to be selected for the Best American Poetry anthology?
Then look no further–just adopt an Asian female voice! Continue reading
A monthly column, Funny Feminism features conversations with feminist-identifying artists who use humor in their creative work.
Last year, when I moved to New York, a mutual friend of Liz Glazer and I told us that we had to meet. This mutual friend said that Liz was a lawyer and law professor who was about to walk away from a tenured position to focus full-time on standup comedy. The first time I met Liz several months ago, she invited me to check out a weekly night she was co-hosting with her good friend and comedic partner, Rhett Sever. Their night, Say Everything, stood out from traditional standup shows because audience members are actually encouraged to speak up and interrupt the comedian on stage with questions. These questions can throw off a comic with prepared material and these performances become intimate one-of-a-kind detours that often lead to either catharsis or collision. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that Liz and Rhett are doing something really special and important, as some of the conversations I’ve had with strangers at Say Everything are not ones I’d likely have at any other comedy night and I thank them for that. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to talk to Liz about her own creative practice immediately after she dragged me to my first and only SoulCycle class. After class, I was drenched in sweat, while Liz, the SoulCycle regular, was glowing. That Liz got me to bust my ass to techno music on a Sunday morning is proof of the sort of energetic draw she has. It’s no wonder she gets people to spill their guts on stage every week. Below are excerpts from our drenched discussion.
Cathy de la Cruz: Can you talk about your journey into comedy? I’m curious about how you went from being a lawyer and a law professor to a comedian.
Liz Glazer: In 2009, I moved to Chicago for the semester because I needed to move away from New York. I was being very self-destructive here. I was in a relationship that wasn’t working. I was doing drugs more than I wanted to be doing drugs. I felt like I maybe could have gone on, but I remember when I got the phone call from Loyola University Chicago, I was like, ‘I’m ready. Just take me somewhere.’ I was really depressed. I went to Chicago for that semester and I started doing improv because I needed to do something unrelated to my job. I took an improv class at IO, which was formerly called Improv Olympic, and became very affected by it. I thought I was terrible at it, but I was just really afraid and I noticed that I was really afraid. Improv forced me into this zone of discomfort, of being vulnerable and being myself and not caring what people were thinking of me when they looked at me, and I had not ever really been exposed to that.